ALTERNATE FATE LORE
No better direction than forward, so you take the middle path. Birds tweet, clouds lazily by, flowers open, a Grumpjaw gnaws on a femur…
You yelp, stupidly alerting the monster to yourself. He turns your way, his tusks swinging high.
“BREAKFAST,” roars the Grumpjaw.
You flank and run. The Grumpjaw takes off after you. Its every step shakes the ground. You splash into a fast-flowing stream, allowing the current to push you faster, the blueprints slipping away.
You don’t notice the waterfall until you’ve already run off its edge.
The whole of Mont Lille stretches out under you. You fall fast, flapping your arms in the frothy falling water.
Right behind you, in the middle of a blinding, spinning light, the Grumpjaw also falls, gaining on you!
Your life passes before your eyes as death both rises and falls to meet you.
You feel the Grumpjaw’s hot, icky breath just before everything goes dark. There’s a revolting squeeze when he swallows you whole, then…
You hear a voice from the other side of the Grumpjaw. Ahh eye. Off ih uh. Faint from lack of oxygen, you push at the gooey, tough-meat insides of the monster.
The walls cave in and you are launched, feet first, dripping with digestive juices, onto the grass next to the top of the waterfall.
You gag, wipe gunk from your eyes, and scramble to your feet. “Am I… dead?”
“Not dead! Not vaporized! Not even squished!”
Next to the hungry Grumpjaw stands a dwarf holding a steel box.
“How… how did you…” you gasp.
“With mathematics, kid. Time travel is all mathematics. If I hadn’t known the precise coordinates of the planet’s course through space, and thrown The Cube after you, I would have lost a perfectly good Grumpjaw.”
“I traveled back in time?”
“Back, and a little to the left. Come now; we have things to do. You haven’t seen a malfunctioning robot about, have you? Never mind; so much to engineer, so much time!”
“But the engineers never let me help them. I just do demolitions.”
“Forget those clods. When I’m done with you, you’ll be the second-best engineer on the continent.”
“Me? An engineer?” You drop your punchers and your jaw, elated.
“BREAKFAST,” repeats Grumpjaw.
“Off we go then.”
“Off we go!” you cry, running to catch up.
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